Found Footage Festival 2014 | 10th Anniversary Show

FFF Logo_WebAfter Prueher and Pickett’s creative editing, the video becomes a montage of people saying the word “bitch” interspersed with graphic footage of puppies being born.

 

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Returning to St. Louis almost a year to the day after their last show here, hosts Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett are coming to the Firebird with the seventh volume of their Found Footage Festival.

If you’re not already familiar with the FFF, the gist is that Prueher and Pickett are connoisseurs of bad VHS tapes, troll the United States for them (and have an able following of helpers on this quest), and compile what are essentially best-of shows of these VHS. They then screen these shows across the country while on their quest to find even more bad VHS tapes, which they will later compile into shows for future tours while looking for more VHS tapes, etc. They’re like the Ouroboros of Goodwill capitalism, or an M.C. Escher painting of awkward people and bodily functions.

This being the 10th anniversary show, they return to some of their classics to mine for more footage, including one of my personal favorites, “Petpourri,” a highlight from Volume 5, which graced the Mad Art Gallery in 2011. “Petpourri” was a cable access show of the mid-’90s, where an always-overwhelmed host was surrounded by pets, often exotic, and who were commonly pooping or trying to eat each other on live TV. To make matters worse, in the “Petpourri” footage included in Volume 7, the host has to deal with call-in questions from prank callers; if he already couldn’t handle the animals, how can he handle that?

Among the entirely new stuff to Volume 7 are highlights “Special Delivery,” “How to Have Cybersex on the Internet,” and “Accidents Stink.” “Special Delivery,” the show opener, is about whelping: helping female dogs give birth. After Prueher and Pickett’s creative editing of the already-alarming footage, the video becomes a montage of people saying the word “bitch” interspersed with graphic footage of puppies being born. Hilarious.

The humor of “How to Have Cybersex on the Internet” is self-explanatory—just look at that title! (I prefer to have cybersex in person, myself.) It’s pretty much what it sounds like: An attractive (and now surely deeply ashamed) girl explains how to have cybersex to internet noobs circa the ’90s, and even engages in some live cybersex herself as an example of how it’s done. If you’re under the age of 25, this video will make you very pleased you were born when you were and didn’t have to worry about this stuff.

Each year seems to include a medical instruction video, always of a disgusting nature, and commonly featuring a forced sense of humor that makes the whole experience weirder. This year’s foray on that front is “Accidents Stink,” which shows healthcare professionals how to aid in an elderly patient’s bowel movement, a process that involve not prunes but, uh, digital penetration. And remember, this is a legitimate instructional video, and it tries to be funny in a way that is neither funny nor really appropriate. That is to say, it’s gold for the FFF.

There’s other good stuff, too. Each show features a montage of exercise videos, and this year’s is one of the funniest yet. Also, the new edition of their slide show of strange VHS box art and/or labels found on home movies is a winner, while Prueher and Pickett’s increasing tendency to themselves delve into Yes Men/Nathan for You-type territory on local morning shows is getting funnier and funnier.

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It’s a shame that the Found Footage Festival 2014 is not in the Mad Art Gallery, as the last many have been; instead it’s at the Firebird, which will be more than functional, but less inherently cool. This absolutely should not deter you from attending, though; each year I seem to get more and more excited about the imminent return of Prueher and Pickett and their video treasures. In an era in which all people want to do is sit around and force one another to watch YouTube videos that no one really cares about, the FFF shows you how to do it right. | Pete Timmermann

This year’s edition of the Found Footage Festival is at the Firebird (2706 Olive St.) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 13. Admission is $10 in advance, or $12 at the door. For more information, to buy advance tickets, to buy other stuff, or to just check out some videos, visit foundfootagefest.com.

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